As we begin a new year, it presents a good opportunity to take stock of our position. I think it’s important that we reflect on the lessons we learned, accomplishments we’ve shared in, and all that’s happened this past year in Rowan County.

Your county and city governments have spearheaded several cooperative initiatives this year. Working together and sharing resources ultimately benefits everyone and we're proud of what we have accomplished so far. The establishment of the joint city-county tourism commission will help to fund the promotion of our flourishing community at no cost to the Rowan County taxpayer. The Laughlin Project has been an immensely successful collaboration, providing a safe place for hundreds of our youth to gather every week. We hope to share in many more cooperative endeavors in the future.

Your Road Department has worked tirelessly to lay down $1,222,983.58 of blacktop in Rowan County, which is the most blacktop laid since 2000. Their hard work ensures that all citizens are driving on better, safer roads. Improving the infrastructure that you rely on every day has been and will always remain one of our top priorities. Some of the greatest accomplishments we’ve made include the flooding fix on Bratton Branch, and the remarkable recovery from the July flood which caused $100,000 in road damages.

Your Volunteer Fire Departments, partially funded by the Rowan County Fiscal Court, made countless runs last year. Often jumping out of bed and into their boots at three o’clock in the morning, these brave men and women selflessly volunteer their time to protect the citizens of Rowan County. If that wasn’t enough, the access they provide helps to reduce your homeowner’s insurance rates.

Your Rowan County Fiscal Court has continued to help fund the Office of the Rowan County Sheriff’s “Drug Task Force” to reduce the impact of opioids and other drugs on our community. This is a unit solely dedicated to the eradication of narcotics in our county. Every one of us has been affected by the drug epidemic in some way, and it’s with collaborative efforts like these that we may try to make a positive change.

Your Emergency Management Department has made enormous leaps and bounds to improve the modes and means of communication during emergencies. The implementation of the Smart 911 alert system ensures that all citizens are on the same page when bad weather or natural disasters strike. We’ve also been granted access to one of the most powerful resources for communications in the United States, The Presidential Alert System, in a service known as IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System). By written agreement with FEMA, we are now able to reach any modern cell phone on any major cellular carrier in Rowan County with urgent emergency messages.

Your Ambulance Service has conducted 5,292 runs - one of the busiest years ever. This group of men and women work the long hours necessary to care for the people of Rowan County on their worst day so that they may see their best.

Your Animal Control Department facilitated the adoption or rescue of over 952 dogs, 673 cats, 10 horses, and 2 pigs. They helped to reunite 169 pets with some very happy owners and went out on over 400 calls throughout the county.

Your Rowan County Fiscal Court, Solid Waste Department, and the Rowan County Detention Center worked in collaboration to collect 6,814 bags of trash over 381.5 miles of roadway in Rowan County, helping to beautify our community for residents and visitors alike. They’ve cleaned up 30 illegal dump sites and mitigated 16 lots from the floodplain to make our community a safer and healthier place to live.

Your Maintenance Team has done an impeccable job keeping your county buildings and facilities operating smoothly and to a standard that we can all be proud of. They often come in early and leave late, and we appreciate their hard work.

Your state-of-the-art Rowan County Detention Center remains at maximum occupancy and continues to become more financially self-sufficient every day. The hard-working men and women employed there do their best to ensure that we provide a safe facility for our inmates. Inmates are offered the classes, education, moral support and work programs needed to help get them back on their feet and reintegrated with society.

Your Treasurer’s Office has worked very diligently to ensure that our budget has stayed on track and that your tax dollars are properly accounted for. In addition to their many other duties, they also play a huge part in organizing our Community Christmas Dinner each year. This year's dinner was one of the best attended in recent memory.

To all the people of Rowan County, we thank you for your support. We thank you for the valuable input and feedback you provide. Your voices help to guide us so that we may better serve you and continue to implement positive change in our county. Our doors are always open to you.

To all the employees of Rowan County, we can’t thank you enough for your hard work and dedication. We thank you for your unending will to go above and beyond for your county. Without you, none of the strides we’ve made in this past year would have been possible. Our people are our greatest resource, and it’s my belief that we employ some of the best and brightest in the Commonwealth.

In 2020 we will face new challenges and be met with new possibilities. We are set to have over 500 new jobs come to Rowan County in the form of AppHarvest and the Commonwealth Cooperage. We will also be participating in the 2020 Census which is vital for securing the federal funding that will help our county continue to grow and prosper.

We look forward to an even better year for Rowan County.

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